IN THE past year, writer and campaigner Amanda Amaeshi has presented to business bosses on gender bias, spoken up about racism and helped inspire girls to take STEM subjects at school.
The 16-year-old from Dunfermline says she overcame shyness and a ‘lack of confidence in herself’ to make her voice heard on a range of issues which matter to young people.
Amanda is one of five fantastic finalists in the 2020 Glasgow Times Young Scotswoman of the Year award, in association with St Enoch Centre. Over the next few days, we will be profiling each of the contenders for the title, which will be decided by public vote and revealed on April 29, along with the winner of our Scotswoman of the Year, in a livestreamed event on social media.
“I am really happy to be nominated, it’s amazing,” said Amanda. “My family were very proud of me when I told them.
“I was quite quiet when I was younger, and very shy. My parents met in Nigeria and came to Scotland in 2002 and have moved around a lot because of their jobs – my dad’s a university professor and my mum’s a public health researcher.
“So, I’d have to make friends and fit in again in each new place and sometimes, that was hard.”
She added: “Becoming part of Girlguiding really helped me with that – it was a safe place I could be with other girls and learn how to grow in confidence.”
Amanda is now a member of the Girlguiding Advocate Panel, a group of 18 young women from across the UK who speak out on issues that matter to girls and young women.
She is also an award-winning writer – in 2017, she won the Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) competition, writing about problems concerning food waste in Scotland and potential solutions.
The Dollar Academy pupil presented at the Women Ahead Gender Balance Summit to around 500 CEOs and other business people last March and as part of the Girlguiding Adventures at Home festival, she filmed a science experiment, helping to inspire in other girls an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths).
When she leaves school, Amanda hopes to enter politics or law.
“I’d like to do human rights law, specifically, because that’s where you can actually make change happen and help people who are victims of injustice,” she explained.
“Injustice is a big issue for me. When you see something happening locally or in the wider world you have to do something about it.
“I think it’s up to everyone, whether you are young or not, to try to make the world a better place.”
Amanda is shortlisted for 2020 YoungSWOTY award alongside Roseanna Campbell, Katie Pake, Lusia Steele and Juliana-Sweeney-Baird. To find out more about all the finalists and to register your vote visit www.glasgowtimes.co.uk/young-swoty-2020
Voting will close at 5pm on Friday, April 2.